By Rich Bockmann
At his office in Bayside Friday afternoon, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) smiled as he took out a pair of scissors and cut in half his state-issued executive parking placard, sending the pieces back to Albany. The placard, which reads, “This vehicle is on official police business,” allows Avella and his colleagues to park in restricted zones and forgo paying the parking meter.
“I don’t believe elected officials should have this perk,” said the senator, contending that the wording on the placard is also misleading. Avella said he was issued a similar placard when he was a city councilman, which he also returned.
“Parking is a huge problem in the city and state. This gives me a better understanding of what the problems are of the people I represent,” he said. “I should have to drive around and look for parking like everyone else.”
Avella said he has not proposed any legislation to change the parking privileges, but called upon his colleagues in the Senate to follow his lead and return their placards on a volunteer basis.
“I hope that many of my colleagues will join with me in returning the placard,” he said. “Together we can send the message that instead of utilizing these ridiculous parking placards to make life easier for ourselves, we are going to work to find ways to create a better quality of life for all New Yorkers.”
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.